Monday, 09 December 2013 12:44

Nutrition Plan: Test Drive In The Off-Season

[caption id="attachment_9207" align="alignright" width="225"]endurance - nutrition - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run Source: Holloway Running[/caption] Nutrition is considered the fourth discipline of triathlon or maybe the 5th with recovery as the 4th.  Either way you look at it nutrition and specifically nutrition planning is key to a successful training cycle as well as a race result you will be happy with.  When I started training and racing triathlon I was like anybody else and I was downing gels every 30 minutes.  As I have become more and more experienced I realized that I had no need to do that yet I continue to test and re-test my nutrition. I am currently training for the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail Race in February and while not a triathlon this will be a long race.  If I am able to finish the race at even a 10:00/mi pace we are talking about 500 minutes, or 8h20m, of running.  That is a long time and I need to be prepared to fuel during the race.  Having no clue what to fuel with is not a terrific strategy so I am using the 11 weeks of training to test out the products I use for Ironman racing to see if that will hold up during this long of a race.  I am going into it believing that it will but that doesn't mean that I do not test and find different solutions if need be. During Ironman, and Half-Ironman, racing I use a combination of Herbalife24 Prepare and Prolong with First Endurance Liquid Shot on the bike and then just the liquid shot on the run.  The way I used these products was to have the Herbalife in two water bottles on the bike and have them contain approximately 700 calories (350 per bottle) and then an EFS flask in my shorts pocket.  This combination gives me ~1200 calories and 3700mg of electrolytes.  The pattern has been to consume one of the bottles in the first 1-1.5 hours and toss it and add a water bottle from an aid station to my bike.  Over the next hour or so I take in water along with half of the EFS flask.  Once that is done I go back to the calorie laden water bottle and water.  After that bottle is done I throw it away and add another water bottle to my bike and finish off the flask.  Using this method I have stayed hydrated and kept the calories and electrolytes flowing throughout the ride. Today I am planning on doing the same thing but I am practicing something during training that I hope will aid me toward the end of the Rocky Raccoon race.  Currently my running during the week is anywhere from 45 minutes to an 1 hour and 15 minutes I have scrapped taking anything outside of Herbalife24 Hydrate in my water bottles.  This product has little to no calories but contains 460mg of electrolytes.  I am teaching my body to use the stored fat I have as energy.  We carry ~20,000 calories of fat in our systems so why not use that instead of taking in unnecessary calories during a short run.  I have even gone as long as 15 miles, outdoors, without any additional calories and saw no reduction in performance but as those runs get longer I will be taking calories on the run with me to prevent bonking and to aid in recovery. When the training miles climb into the 20s or three hours of running I will practice with a peanut butter and jelly, which I know will be on the course, to see how my body reacts to it.  My biggest fear is that an all liquid nutrition plan will not be as easy to deal with during a 50 mile run as it is on a 112 mile bike ride.  On the bike we are not jostling our stomachs as much as it will be tossed around while running and especially on a trail.  With all the up and down movement I need to make sure that whatever solid food I take in will not have an adverse reaction.  I am not planning on eating a PB&J, or any Oreos but once on the course you never know what you may grab just because it looks good at that time.  Without planning for it that could be a grave mistake, one that sends me to the porto-potty and makes what was already a long day become even longer. [caption id="attachment_9206" align="alignright" width="300"]endurance - nutrition - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run RR50 Aid Station BUFFET
Source: Runners World[/caption] This coming Saturday I have a 19 mile run scheduled and because of Karen's training and having Chico this weekend I will start the run at 5am on the treadmill.  This will give me the perfect opportunity to test out the idea of taking in a PB&J.  Should I have an adverse reaction the bathroom will be my own and not some tree in the middle of the forest of Grapevine Lake.  In testing out different foods from what will be on the course at the aid stations I should be fully prepared for what is to come on race day.  That being said had I not trained with it I would be going into un-chartered territory and on the course is not the time to figure out that a Oreo or Fig Newton is not going to be the right fuel for you.

How Do You Practice Your Nutrition Plan?

  ** Image on cover photo of article courtesy of AthleteRD.com
Published in Train
Sunday, 08 December 2013 19:44

Week 5 Of The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

Uhh……did somebody not notify the calendar that it should not move this fast?  I mean seriously how in the world are we on Week 5 already?  When did this happen? Hopefully this is because the training is going well and has not been a burden on life and responsibilities (yet!)

KC's Week 5 of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

[caption id="attachment_9201" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - challenge - triathlon KC's Log For Week 5[/caption] Not my best week but I'll claim it. I have a funky thyroid issue and have had it for at least 10 years. It comes and goes as it pleases and for right now, it's here trying to bog me down but I won't allow that to happen. I went for about the last 2 years without needing any medication to keep it well controlled but for some reason, it's rearing its ugly head now. Stress induced? Who knows! Anyway, started popping the magic pill about 5 days ago and already feeling better as of yesterday.Now hopefully, I can hop back on the running bandwagon and get my miles back up. This week kinda sucked in the running department. There's no other way to say it. I do feel that I rallied a bit yesterday and today, so maybe it wasn't all that bad of a week. I'll call today my best workout day out the week. Now to ride this strong wave into next week. That's what I'm gonna do!! We've been blessed here to be having high temps in the 80's and will continue into next week, so lots of outdoor workouts for me. It's so crazy to think we're in December and sweating out asses off still. Unreal! Besides training stuff, I've been on an organizing kick lately and have been going through closets full of clothes, donating stuff, tossing stuff, just getting rid of excess. I hate clutter! I had to step back today and admire my progress. Looks great and feels great to de-clutter. Not much else exciting happening here, so that's all I got this week. Just keeping on with forward progress. Is there any other option? I think not! Upward and Onward!
~KC

Jason's Week 5 Of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

[caption id="attachment_9200" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - challenge - triathlon My Training Peaks Log is missing that blue of the water.[/caption] If you have been following my Facebook posts or Twitter posts you know that I have been iced in here in Dallas.  It has not been enjoyable to say the least, but it is important to not forget the goal of this training and that is to be ready for the cannon to go off and pursue the finish of my 4th Ironman race.  Along the way to training for IMTN I have registered for Rocky Raccoon 50 and that has become the focus for the next two months.  With the ice came the opportunity to run on the treadmill.  Now, I am no Emily but I will say that I actually enjoyed myself for over 4 hours and 29 miles.  What I have noticed during these past two weeks of Rocky Raccoon 50 training is that the bike block I put in during September and October has paid off big time.  These runs are sub-9:00/mile and barely above Z1. All is not unicorns and rainbows though.  After the 12 mile run of last Sunday I could feel a little niggle in my hip.  Uh-oh.  I immediately called my chiropractor and put myself on a recurring appointment for Thursday evenings.  Why Thursday?  The reason is that Wednesday is the mid-week long run and then Thursday and Friday are recovery days heading into the high volume of the weekend.  By getting my body put back together after that mid-week run and prepared for the long runs I feel as if I am doing the best I can to ensure that I avoid any injuries during this training block. One item that I am not pleased with this week is that I logged a whopping 0 yards, 0 hours and 0 trips to the pool.  Monday I had a board meeting for the FWTri Club and instead of swimming monday morning I slept in a bit and then jumped on the bike for an hour spin.  I thought I would be able to get to the pool on Thursday and Friday but as fate would have it the ice storm hit and getting to the chiropractor was more important on Thursday and the pool was closed on Friday.  I do have my bags packed to get to the pool first thing in the morning on Monday to get at least 2000 yards in. Overall the recovery issues I was facing last week are gone.  Whether it was taking care of my body from a nutrition standpoint or breaking through the plateau I am not sure, but what I do know is that my legs feel as good as you can expect them to feel after back to back weeks of 50+ miles.
Published in Train
Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:49

ICC - Week #6: And The Hits Keep On Coming

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge (ICC) entered and completed its 6th week and with that KC and I are one week closer to the toeing of the line and jumping into the river to float downstream.  We will not really float but with the amount of swimming the two of us are doing that might be the best solution for us. Remember that the ICC is to showcase how two seasoned triathletes with multiple Ironman finishes train for the race.  Since we are in different areas of the United States, different genders, different family/friend/work responsibilities you will see different types of training volume.  We also have different strengths so while I may spend more time in the water, KC may spend more time on the bike.  We are crafting our own way to the start and finish line of Ironman Chattanooga.  I do not compare my volume to her's and she is not comparing her training to mine.  We are our own athletes with our own goals.  This is true for you, the reader, as well and so while there are rules of thumb when it comes to training for an Ironman like make sure you swim, bike and run there is no one way to get there.  Keep that in mind as you read what we are putting ourselves through and looking at your training schedule [caption id="attachment_9225" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning KC's Training Calendar. Gotta love the simplicity of tracking her training volume[/caption]

KC's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

Some of you may have already read part of this post on Facebook today, sorry for the repeat. Week 6 proved to be much better than last week. I felt stronger and better rested. I took it a little slower on the runs this week and focused on building up the miles during the week. I also felt like I redeemed myself with today’s long run. I can erase last week’s crapiness from my memory bank now. Today’s 20 mile run that turned into 22 miles was brought to you by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I also claim the title of The Running MacGyver. That wrapper you see in the picture above, saved my run too. My body Glide and jogbra failed me today folks, so around mile 7, I realized things were gonna get ugly, particularly in one spot. My quick thinking MacGyver skills kicked in (my Dad would have been so proud) and I began looking for a remedy, which turned out to be the candy wrapper. I carefully placed it between my skin and the jogbra and threw down the next 15 miles, no problem! For those not in the know, here is a link about MacGyver:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver Overall, this week was pretty good. I’ll start throwing in the swimming in January. For now, until the end of the year, I’m enjoying the running, the night biking and the crossfit stuff a lot. Upward and Onward! [caption id="attachment_9227" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Who needs Body Glide or Trislide when you have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_9226" align="aligncenter" width="224"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning 20 Miles Turned Into 22. Yeah, that happens!!!!![/caption]  
~KC

Jason's Week 6 Ironman Chattanooga Challenge

This week was the week from hell when it comes to driving.  Dallas was hit with an ice storm on Friday of last week and with the temperatures being below freezing that means that ice did not really go away until Thursday.  In 10 trips into the office I was stuck in traffic on 9 of them thanks to poor driving on the ice.  It was horrible and with each passing minute the anger in me grew to rage.  I had not planned on doing so many doubles but I needed a stress relief and when I would get near home I would either choose to go swimming or go and lift and do core.  The benefit is that this gave me a way to structure my training for Rocky Raccoon and allow me to get in the pool, jump on the bike trainer and do some lifting and core work. [caption id="attachment_9224" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - rocky raccoon - triathlon - ultrarunning Jason's Colorful Training Peaks Calendar For Ironman Chattanooga Week 6 Training[/caption] My training plan for Rocky Raccoon 50 is very run heavy with 6 days per week of running.  The majority of the runs during the week are low mileage with Monday off.  Wednesday is the long run day mid-week.  Saturday and Sunday make up about 60% of the miles I put up.  For example, this week I ran 57.4 miles with 31.45 between Saturday and Sunday.  Trying to make sure that I am getting proper recovery I devised the following plan:
  • Monday (Rest day from running):  AM Swim; PM Bike Trainer.
  • Tuesday: AM Swim; PM Treadmill run.
  • Wednesday: AM Run; PM Bike Trainer
  • Thursday: AM Run; PM Strength/Core
  • Friday: AM Run; PM Swim
  • Saturday: Long Run
  • Sunday: AM Long Recovery Run; PM Strength / Core
My swims will be structured and between 1500 and 2200 yards because I am only going to be in the water for 30-45 minutes. I need to keep the structure of the swim this way because right now I am in no mood to get in the water but I know that I can do anything for 30-45 minutes and that will keep me motivated.  The bike trainer sessions will be one hour-long with my heart rate in Zone 1 and not much more than that.  Just pure spinning to keep the legs fresh. My long runs on the weekend I am hoping to do on the trails.  There will be days where I have to run them on the treadmill, like this past weekend.  On Saturday do to responsibilities I ran 19.32 miles on the treadmill.  You would have thought I shot the President the way people reacted to me on Facebook.  When I thought about it I realized that these people are telling me not to run on the treadmill had no real reason for telling me not to run on the treadmill.  I enjoyed running for three hours and getting lost in my own mind while also watching two movies.  Had the people proclaiming that I should be outside could provide me with scientific evidence that running on the treadmill is WAY WORSE than running on the road then I would have delayed the process but in the end it was what I needed to do to get in the 19 miles and enjoy the day with my step-son having our Saturday morning breakfast before leaving to cut down our Christmas Tree. Overall I am very happy with the way training is going so far. I had some issues during the first week of Rocky Raccoon training but have broken through that plateau and am now on my way to some very large volume weeks. As the volume increases I may have to make some adjustments to my training but that is what this is all about. Keeping your eye on the prize and making adjustments to get there.

Are You Racing Ironman Chattanooga? If So, Share Your Training Story With Us

Published in Train
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 13:24

My Favorite Things.....Your Turn

I was perusing through Competitor Magazine online yesterday and saw a post titled My Favorite Things.  I read through it and thought it was pretty cool plus this is the time of the year when we are most festive so why not spread some cheer around.  There is only so much diet and nutrition talk one can take.  We all know about protein and carbs and fat.  We all know about how we get stronger at a particular discipline is to continue doing that discipline but what we may not know is who is on the other side of this or any other blog.  With that being said I am going to list a few of my favorite things and want to see what are your favorite things.

My Favorite Things:

Endurance Sports Related:

Triathlon Distance:  140.6 Miles.  I am not 100% sure why I love the distance but it fits me.  Something about pushing your body for hours on end just seems to make sense to me. [caption id="attachment_9182" align="alignright" width="300"]favorite things - track - speed session - mile repeats Source: Miles To The Trials[/caption] Speed Workout: Mile repeats.  There is something sadistic and satisfying about the mile repeat.  You know it is going to hurt and hurt bad, but you know it is only going to be for a fraction of time.  I am capable of running my mile repeats in about 6:30 and then I get to recover.  Do that a few more times and the workout is done. Training Session: The long bike ride.  Getting out on the road and riding for hours on end, whether with friends or alone, is a great way to gather your thoughts while getting fit. Friends: I have friends far and wide and every one of them helps to inspire and motivate.  There is nothing better than sitting on your couch on a Sunday afternoon after a long run and getting a text or email from a friend who has done the same thing as you but has a hilarious potty story or a rant to get off their chest.  It helps bring all of this endurance sports into perspective.

Food Related:

Eggs: I absolutely love eggs and all the ways in which you can cook them.  Poached, Scrambled, Over Easy, Over Hard, Hard Boiled, Soft Boiled and the list goes on and on. Brussels Sprouts: It is a sad day when I go to the grocery store or farmer's market and cannot find brussels.  Yes, I could just buy cabbage but it just isn't the same.  Brussels can also be used in a myriad of ways. [caption id="attachment_9181" align="alignright" width="300"]kale - vegetable - favorite thing - food Source: Save The Kales[/caption] Saturday Morning Breakfast with Chico: Every other Saturday Chico and I go to the farmer's market and then to breakfast while Karen is out running.  It is always a good time as he tries different foods at the farmer's market and gets exposed to new vegetables.  After that we head to The Local Diner (that is the actual name) and he orders pancakes and I will get a veggie omelet and we chat away about the most random of things. The ShopListFree AppThis is the one app that I will promote.  Having an organized shopping list is the one way to get in and out of the grocery store without buying things that you do not need.  I update the list as items run out this way I know exactly what I need to replace.  I then will add items to the list based on meal planning.  Not only do I just buy what I need which saves money but it also helps avoid waste in the form of throwing out food which is also waste in the form of your wallet.

Miscellaneous:

Social Media: I make a living in the world of digital marketing and social media, but it is the interaction from this blog and the other platforms that I really like the most.  I have my opinion and those that respond have theirs and while they are not always the same they create an opportunity to converse and I think that is the key to social media.  Conversing with people instead of shouting. [caption id="attachment_9180" align="alignright" width="300"]waitresses - diner - smoking Source: Marketing Land[/caption] Waitresses At Diners That Call You Hon or Sweetie: I cannot put my finger on why but this always makes me smile.  Usually it is done by a waitress who has worked at the diner for years and years and years and remembers you and your order.  It must be the comfort factor that I enjoy but regardless of the reason getting called Hon or Sweetie in the diner is a favorite of mine. Direct Deposit: The best, absolute best financial creation ever.  You wake up and check your account and there is money.  No going to the bank, no signing a check, no having to remember a deposit slip.  It is all done for you and it doesn't get any easier than that.  The next best thing will be for Capital One's mobile app to have the ability to take a picture of the check and have it go into your account without having to go to the bank.  C'mon Capital One get with it.  Spend money on that technology and not Mr Baldwin and his commercials. These are just a few of my favorite things.  Things that make me laugh or smile. Things that make me think.  Things that in general put me into a good mood.

What Are Your Favorite Things?

       
Published in Race
ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) is already into its third week.  Where does the time go?  I can now understand how those that are preparing for their first Ironman can feel as if they did not get everything in because the minutes/days/weeks/months fly by and before you know it the cannon is going off.  This reminds me to say to those of you that ARE preparing for your first: cherish all the moments, even the bad ones.  These training sessions and cycles will not be able to be done again so embrace all that they are.  Embrace the suck, the great, the good and the recovery/rest. In addition to KC and I charting and giving you the good, bad and ugly of our  training for Ironman Chattanooga we have a new addition to this challenge.  Liz Young used the Contact Me form to ask if she could participate in the challenge.  As I want this to be an open and honest discussion about what it takes to get to the start and finish line of an Ironman I said yes.  The beauty is that Liz has a different story than KC and I so you, the reader, will benefit from a third perspective on what the Ironman training is and what it means to different people. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Jason Bahamundi - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

[caption id="attachment_9157" align="alignright" width="300"]Ironman Chattanooga - ICC - triathlon - training Lots Of Pink Signifying Lots Of Running Coming Up.[/caption] This week started with a trip back from Ironman Arizona and ended with the longest run I have done since Ironman Texas.  After October finished with the cycling mileage I knew that I wanted November to be run focused and it has in a way but it has also been more of a step back MONTH or so it feels.  When you run for one hour compared to a 6 hour bike it feels as if you are not doing a lot.  That is all about to change. Coerced, inspired, or fooled by Jeff to run the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile trail race my training is about to take a big turn.  Weeks of 25 miles of running are going to be replaced with weeks of 50 miles of running.  Months of 4000 yards of swimming are going to be replaced with weeks of 4000+ yards of swimming as I will need it to recover from the pounding my legs are about to take.  Spinning on the bike is going to be included but there will be nothing hard about those hour-long sessions.  My heart rate will barely break Z1 on those spin workouts. What I am most excited about is getting my nutrition back on track.  With the turn of the calendar to a new week I am going back to a no sugar diet for the month.  I will be avoiding all added sugars outside of the recovery shakes that I use since recovery is going to be the key to getting my legs prepared for the next days workouts. If you take a look at the picture to the right you will see lots of pink for next week.  Those are all running days.  The light green are the spinning days and then the blue.  Oh the blue and how I have avoided you.  Maybe the running will push me back into the love of swimming. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Kristie Concepcion - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

[caption id="attachment_9158" align="alignright" width="300"]Ironman Chattanooga - ICC - triathlon - training Swimming. It is still part of the IMTN race day right? Not if KC had her choice based on her training calendar.[/caption] Wow! It feels like Ironman Florida was 3 months ago, not 3 weeks ago. Remember that cold bug I said kept trying to get me for the last few weeks, it finally settled in for the first half of the week. I still got my training in though and it never got any worse. I finished off the last half of the week feeling much stronger.
Here's a little tip for you that I learned the hard way. If you are starting to catch a cold, how do you know when you should back off the workout or keep pushing on? The answer is ...if your symptoms are from the neck up, go for it. If the symptoms are from the neck down, fuhgetaboutit!
Ok, back to the training, so this morning called for a 12 mile run but I felt so good, I took it an extra 1.5 miles and cranked up the speed a bit on the last 3 miles just for fun. I also hopped on a trail for a while for the peacefulness that running on the road less traveled provides.
Looking forward to Thanksgiving week. No, not for Thanksgiving but for all kinds of free time to train like a beast! Maybe I'll get a little crazy and swim! Imagine that? Seriously, the best part about next week is that I'm doing a 5K, on Sunday, with a newbie runner. She's doing her first ever 5K and I am doing it with her. Let's see if the running bug bites her.
Hope everyone has a stellar week! Upward and Onward!
____________________________________________________________________________________

Liz Young - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Wee k#3

I am currently 3 weeks out from IMFL. That was my 4th IM distance race. I would have to say that consistency is my theme. While one always strives to get "faster" at these things, I remain constant. All of my races are within 35 minutes of each other. So as always, for the past 3 weeks I have been mulling over every detail that I can remember.
This time period is really difficult due to 1. rest and recovery (something that is difficult for most, especially when we have our next race on the calendar) with my age of 50, people are telling me I need to take time off, but I really don't feel like it.  2. I live in NW Ohio, it is now 15 degrees and the high is going to be 26 today (I like it hot and muggy) Chattanooga should be great weather. 3. Training in the dark! Just a bummer.
I am excited to begin my winter strengthening though. Yoga is a must for me this year. (I hate yoga because it brings to the forefront all those weaknesses and imbalances that our body has. We like to train the stuff we are already good at).
____________________________________________________________________________________
 As you can see training for an Ironman will come in all shapes and sizes, just like the athletes that race this distance.  You can also see that not everybody will follow the same type of plan.  I am training for a 50 mile trail race in February. KC is racing a marathon at the end of this year. Liz will be doing strength training and yoga throughout the winter.

The point is that not all people are created equal and neither should their training be.

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 November 2013 17:34

ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) - Week 1

Ironman Chattanooga is a while from now but I issued a challenge to KC of the blog 140 Point 6 Mile Journey about her and I blogging our way through the year with the finale coming on September 28, 2014.  The point was to show how hard Ironman training is when you are balancing job, family, friends and well just life.  I have had a feeling over the past few months that there is a movement to the sport and yet at the same time the lack of understanding regarding the amount of training and money that goes into this sport.  Yes, I take it seriously but when you are laying your body on the line for 8 hours to 17 hours you had better take it seriously. KC is working on Ironman number 5 and I will be working toward Ironman #4 so we are seasoned vets but that doesn't mean that it is any easier for us and that is the whole point behind this weekly series.  You will get an in-depth view into what we are doing and how we are feeling.  Was it a good week or just terrible?  Did we skip workouts or nail them all?  Did we feel compelled to get something done because we were going to blog about it or did we stay focused on our goal?  My hope is that by following this series those that are considering participating in a training cycle as well as an Ironman race they know what they are getting themselves into. ________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9121" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - KC[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - KC's Week

So I'm 8 days post Ironman Florida and feeling pretty damn good. Not much soreness, just a little mental fatigue. With that said, I kept my cardio workouts easy and short this week. I can't even think about doing anything over 2 hours right now. I have no interest at all in long workouts but this will quickly change tomorrow, as I begin an 8 week training plan for the Disney marathon. So, for the next 8 weeks, I'm using Hal Higdon's Multiple Marathons Training Program for back to back marathons. I used this last year after Ironman Florida and it was perfect. Not too much but just enough training to get me a Boston qualifying time at Disney without any injuries. I hope to better that qualifying time come January 12th.
 
As for Ironman #5, Chattanooga, not even really thinking about it too much yet, but be sure, all of these training weeks ahead, all 40+ weeks left, I will be laying down the strong groundwork and will continue to share what I am doing each week to reach that goal. 
 
Upward and onward always!
________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9120" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Jason Volume[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - Jason's Week

I am coming off of having ridden my bike for 809.75 miles in October and decided that I would focus the month of November on running with more swimming and strength training.  I have been extremely unmotivated about getting into the pool and it has shown.  I found myself crossing over as well as having a deeper pull than I am accustomed to.  My fitness is there which gives me some hope but I really need to get close to 4000-5000 yards of swimming per week in during this off-season so that when I start to do specific Ironman training I am not starting from scratch. With going to the gym to swim I might as well take the time and lift as well.  During Ironman training there is little to no strength training so I need to take advantage of the time off from specific Ironman training while I can.  This past week I went to the gym twice to do strength training and while it felt good to throw some steel plates around I cannot even describe how sore my upper body is.  I forgot about how sore you can become from lifting.  This is just a sign that I need to continue to do this so that soreness doesn't happen over and over because I stop.  Might as well throw in some core work while I am at it. The bike volume took a huge hit this week.  I just did not have the desire to sit on the trainer for an hour per evening.  I am putting together a schedule that has at least 2 days of trainer rides and a longer ride on the weekend. That brings me to today (November 10) and the long ride I had planned.  I scheduled myself for 4 hours but once I got on the bike I immediately knew I wasn't going that far.  I was cold and unmotivated.  After 30 minutes I started re-designing the route and wound up with a 2 hour ride covering 37 miles which game me just under 74 miles or what would have been a nice Saturday morning in October. So let's talk about my focus for the month and that is running.  I have been pleasantly surprised with my running in the past week.  My heart rate has been in Zone 2 or less and paces have been around 8:30/mile.  Normally that is around 9:00/mile at that heart rate.  Clearly the fitness I gained on the bike in October is paying dividends now.  On Saturday I went for a 12 mile run and wound up averaging 8:30/mile and held that pace consistent throughout the 12 miles.  The biggest problem for me on the run was the stomach cramps.  I literally used Valley Ranch and the Cowboys facility as my toilet.....take that Jerry Jones! Go GIANTS! This coming weekend for me will be a lot less training and a lot more smiling.  I am heading to Arizona to cheer on a bunch of friends including Susan Lacke as well as hanging with Emily of Run EMZ fame.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Is On!

Published in Train
Thursday, 07 November 2013 08:33

Social Media And The Triathlete Pros And Cons

[caption id="attachment_9114" align="alignright" width="300"]social media - triathlete - triathlon - daily mile Daily Mile Is An Endurance Athlete Specific Social Media.
Daily Mile[/caption] Social media is where I make a living.  I work with companies on how to leverage the size and power of social media to engage employees as well as help in recruiting the best talent to their organization and then how to keep them since the costs of recruitment, on-boarding, lost revenue and many other factors are far too high to want to repeatedly be hiring.  Social media is also where I made a lot of friends and also find inspiration and motivation.  The medium is perfect for getting that little extra kick in the pants but social media also lends itself to wanting to pull your hair out.

Benefits Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • Joining a group on Facebook that revolves around your upcoming Ironman race can help alleviate your anxiety because you will see other athletes going through the same type of stress can help.  You can find people who are dealing with what you are going through and form a 'team' to help share tips and tricks about overcoming that particular scenario.
  • Twitter is a treasure trove of triathletes.  I am not sure why, but maybe the 140 character limit allows us to quickly send messages and then be out on our bike or run.  Search for hashtags such as #triathlete or #triathlon.  A tremendous list of tweets will come up and from there you can pick and choose who you want to follow, who you want to converse with and who you think will provide you with what you need to get through the next training cycle or race.
  • Google+ communities are very active when it comes to triathlon.  You can search for these communities and ask questions and within moments you will have answers to your questions.  I haven't done a deep dive to see if there are communities setup around particular races like I have seen on Facebook but I would not be surprised one bit if there were.  The one trait about G+ Communities that I have found so far is that they are managed very well.  Spam typically does not get through so the posts and the conversations that follow are genuine and helpful.

Drawbacks Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • There is SO MUCH social media that a triathlete can follow and almost every piece of content will be contrary to the one you read previously.  Somebody may post that eating 10g of protein within 60 minutes is ideal for recovery and another might post that 15g within 30 minutes is ideal.  Which is right?
  • Triathletes are Type-A and a lot of them (us) are also OCD.  We have a way of doing things and while that way works for us there are times when we post on social media that it is the way that will work for everybody which is clearly not true.  My alarm goes off at 4:02 AM every morning and depending on the workout I am eating a solid breakfast by 4:30 AM or am out the door working out.  Does this work for everybody?  Of course not, but if I post that to Facebook there is bound to be somebody who reads it and changes their structure to match mine and vice versa.
  • We are competitive and if we see that Bob or Nancy just rode 40 miles then we want to ride 60.  If John or Sue ran 10 miles, then we want to run 12.  Avoid the competition because being a Pre-Season All-American means nothing on race day.  You cannot win the race in your training cycle but you can certainly lose it.  Follow your training plan and listen to your body because on race day Bob, Nancy, John or Sue will not be wearing your bib.

Social Media Can Be A Big Help Or Hindrance To Triathletes. What Do You Think?

 
Published in Train
Monday, 18 November 2013 09:03

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week - 2

Welcome to Week #2 of the Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Challenge.  If you have made it this far, congratulations.  If you are just starting out be sure to check out Week 1 as well as the introductory post that explains what this challenge actually is.  For those of you who are not keen on clicking, the cliff notes version is that KC and I are both training for Ironman Chattanooga 2014.  We both have a handful of Ironman finishes under our belt but wanted to chronicle the ups and downs of training from two different perspectives. KC: Female, No Sugar/No Grain lifestyle, lives in Florida. Me: Male, Plant-Based Lifestyle, lives in Dallas. We both work full-time jobs and have lives outside of swim, bike, run but we are determined to toe the starting line in the best shape possible but that also does not mean that it comes easy.  Ironman is hard.  Ironman training is harder.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - KC 

[caption id="attachment_9136" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Week 2 of Ironman Chattanooga Training for KC.[/caption] I am now 2 weeks post IMFL and have been fighting an off and on sore throat, cough, and stuffy head the whole time. It's pretty annoying. I wish it would get me already and run its course or just go away but unfortunately, it seems to want to linger. Even with a scaled back training schedule (refer to my training calendar - yes, this is scaled back for me), the cold symptoms remain. 
 
This week was my Hal Higdon, week 1 of 8, marathon training program that I mentioned in week 1's recap. I got off to a good start this week, except I had to scrap today's 1-2 hour run. I listened to my body and it said, drink some theraflu, hot tea, and take a long nap, so I did and I feel better. I did manage to sneak in a 50 mile bike ride though, yay!
Tomorrow is a new day ...and I WILL feel better!
Upward and onward!

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - Jason

[caption id="attachment_9135" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 2.
Color coded for Jeff.[/caption] As you can see from my training log I put in a total of 4 hours.  This was not an easy week for training from the simple fact that I just was traveling .  The long hours typically logged on the weekend were nearly zero because of my travels to watch this girl and the other athletes kick the crap out of Ironman Arizona and well this is what you get.  Truth be told if I tracked my running during the event along with the walking back and forth everywhere I probably put another 5 miles on my feet in the time I was down at the event. Am I disappointed in the lack of training?  Not one bit.  This is the 'off-season' so I am ok with missing workouts or not logging in as many hours or miles as I typically do.  The fact is that we have lives and not every waking moment can be consumed by triathlon, as much as we would like it to.  I have discovered that I have to make my workouts count these days.  When I was working from home I could get by with a one hour trainer ride that was sort of just getting through it, but now with limited time the workouts have to have a meaning and if I think I am just going to coast through it I do not bother. The perfect example is Wednesday's workout.  On Tuesday nights I stay up late watching Sons of Anarchy so when the alarm on Wednesday goes off at 4am if I am not jumping out of bed ready to go there is no point in getting up at all and slogging my way through a workout.  This week I had intended to go swimming that morning.  A late night coupled with 29* weather in the morning made me hit snooze and go back to bed because the idea of swimming right then and there was out of the question. I would have dreaded the drive, hated jumping in the pool and been even more mad at myself for just slogging away.  Moved the swim to the next day, got extra sleep and that evening got myself on the trainer for a solid one hour focusing on keeping a low heart rate that would not push me over the edge. I am looking forward to a more disciplined training program but for now I am doing the work I need to do and pretty soon that work will most likely involve prepping for a 50 mile run in February.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 16:34

Off-Season Training Observations

Off-season training has been going on since the middle of May.  I had planned to continue with structured workouts but after having raced Ironman Texas as my 3rd Ironman race in 12 months along with 4 Half-Ironman races in 18 months I decided it was time to take a break and get away from structured training.  Getting away from a daily schedule, however, did not mean that I was getting away from working out. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Side bar:  If you are swimming, cycling and running with no ultimate goal (a race) are you just working out? If there is a race does it become training?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I came up with the cycling goals of 650 miles in September (rode 747 miles) and 800 miles in October (rode 809 miles) and along the way I have seen a handful of changes in my base.

Off-Season Training Observations

  • Regardless of my base if I do not drink enough on a long ride I will dehydrate and that will cause my recovery to be longer than it should be.  I learned this lesson, not once but twice, as I almost passed out after a one hour session on the trainer in which I left my water bottle in the kitchen and was too lazy to get it and felt good.  During a 4 hour ride in 55*-60* weather I did not feel myself sweating and thus did not take in the liquids I should have. That evening my legs were more sore than they had been in nearly 2 months after 1500+ miles of riding.
  • I have run a total of 117 miles from September 1st through October 31st or an average of 58 miles per month.  This is low volume for me yet as I picked up running again in November my pace is faster and my RPE is lower.  I am running more efficiently than I did prior to the overload of bike miles I put on.
  • Swimming has been non-existent for the past month.  In October I swam a total of 1200 yards and that is because I felt a bit of guilt from Maria sending me an email and essentially asking me if I needed directions to the pool.  What I noticed in the pool was that my form was horrible.  I was crossing over and my pulls were far deeper than they had been.  On the positive side I noticed that my fitness was great considering the wasted energy with my poor form.
  • Nutrition.  This has been a 'bit' of a struggle because of the lack of structure.  Without the structure of a training schedule I have had a lack of structure with my meal planning.  I am no longer tracking my food and just winging it.  Throw in the fact that I am now getting home from work, working out for an hour and I am eating between 7pm and 8pm.  Prior to this change my dinner was being consumed at 430-5pm.  My off-season weight has been ideal for an off-season as I am anywhere from 5-8 pounds over racing weight.  This is very easy to lose and can be done in a week so I am not concerned about any off-season weight gain.
  • I am a morning person, without a doubt, but I am noticing that I am enjoying the evening workouts as much as I do the early workouts.  I am getting in two workouts per day right now with each being an hour and they are both enjoyable.  At first the evening workouts were dreaded but as the commute home has become unbearable some days it is an opportunity for me to get away from the world and focus on me.  Some times I come up with solutions to work problems, and other times I am lost in my own thoughts that I barely remember anything from the workout.
  • I cannot stand training with music.  I recently went on a run with headphones and at first I enjoyed it, but after about 2 miles of running I wanted to throw the earbuds and iTunes into the river.  I was no longer able to focus on my footfalls or the rhythym of my breathing and the cadence of my run.  I have vowed to no longer use music as I am truly at peace with the world and my body when I cycle and/or run without any distractions.
  • [caption id="attachment_9108" align="alignright" width="290"]off season training - triathlon - ironman - sufferfest The Sufferfest - Beat Your Own Ass Today To Kick Their Ass Tomorrow.
    Source: The Sufferfest[/caption] The Sufferfest is an invaluable part of my training.  With days getting shorter the rides on the trainer are becoming more important to this off-season training cycle.  Firing up the various videos from The Sufferfest make the hour go by without a blink.  In addition to their normal videos they have introduced much shorter heart pumping videos that are to be used as add-ons.  The Long Scream is a favorite of mine and that is truly a leg and lung crushing workout.
The off-season training is something that I have enjoyed but there is a bit of me that is starting to get fired up about structured training and re-discovering all that Ironman training encompasses.  Pushing my body and my mind to its limits and beyond.  Understanding how one workout compliments the next.  How the recovery shake at the end of each night prep's my body for the next morning's workout.  Why the particular swim drill is aiding my overall ability to swim more efficiently. In the end the science of the body and its limits is something I look forward to.

What Has Your Off-Season Training Taught You?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_9038" align="alignright" width="247"]holidays - triathlon - training - offseason You Can Celebrate Christmas And Still Keep An Eye On Your Training[/caption] Triathlon Holidays are here and gone. The Kona Ironman World Championships came and went yesterday and unless you are racing IMAZ or IMFL your triathlon season is over and you are ready to focus on what to do in the new year.  Since races fill up very fast these days there is a good chance that you have already laid out your 2014 race calendar.  You are looking for the long rides and runs to help support those ambitions.  Maybe there is a century ride that you are looking to do or a 15k race that fits in nicely with your planned training.  The scenario is most likely the same for a lot of you reading this but let us not neglect the fitness gains you have made over the last year and allow them to slip away because your training goes down and your holiday treat consumption goes up. Before we get into some ideas for how to maintain a solid base while the holidays are going on let us quickly discuss the triathlon Christmas holiday known as Ironman Kona.  Yesterday, I had the great fortune to broadcast the coverage live onto my TV as opposed to trying to squint at my laptop or iPad and go blind.  While watching the coverage I watched with a different eye than I have in year's past.  In the past I was just watching the athletes and this year I was studying the athletes.  Trying to pick up anything I could so that I could apply it to my training and racing. From watching VanLierde and Carfrae race to Potts and Rapp pulling out early I learned a lot.  VanLierde chased down McKenzie on the run and when he caught him he did not slow down.  This meant a lot to me because I know when I am running I put a bullseye on a target and will chase them but as soon as I catch up to them I feel as if my work is done and will slow down, even if for a moment, instead of passing with authority and leaving no question that I am prepared to suffer and go fast.  Mirinda Carfrae proved the same theory.  8 minutes down to Rachel Joyce coming out of T2 I had the feeling that she was going to win and I texted Adena as such.  It is one thing to have the ability to do something but it is completely different to actually put that ability to use.  Carfrae did just that and when she passed Joyce she did it with authority as well.  She carried that powerful leg turnover all the way to her second Ironman World Championship victory. Jordan Rapp and Andy Potts proved something else to me and it is a lesson that I am putting into good use already.  Andy Potts pulled out with an injury before the race even started.  Jordan Rapp dropped out of the race midway through the run.  That is a DNS and a DNF from two of the best American triathletes, and truly best triathletes in the world.  Think about that for a moment.  These two world-class athletes make their money as professionals through racing and sponsorships yet when it was time to make a decision on a DNS or DNF they made it.  We, as age groupers, think that DNS/DNF are the curse words to the endurance athlete's lifestyle but the reality is that they are not.  This off-season I have had both Redman 70.3 and Oilman 70.3 on my radar to race and have decided to forgo them.  In year's past I would have put my head down and done the races despite not having the motivation to do them because, well, that is what I do.  Learning from Rockwall last year and understanding the bigger picture and I have put those two races into the 'no need to do them pile.' Lastly, what I have also learned from the IM Kona World Championships is that it is possible to run hard and fast off the bike after a strong and hard bike leg.  As age groupers the saying goes: 'a good run is after a well paced bike' and that is true.  The problem for me is that the well paced ride has been one in which I can go much faster but worry about blowing up on the run.  With that in mind I have made the months of September and October extremely bike heavy. In September I chose a goal of 650 miles and eclipsed that with 747 miles including a 102 miles at Hotter N Hell as well as a 124 mile training ride with some buddies.  Seeing how close I was to 800 I chose a goal of 800 for #OchoInOctober.  As of the writing/publishing of this post (October 13th) I have ridden 396 miles and am well on pace for 800 this month.  Through all these miles I have seen my recovery runs get better even with ridiculously tired legs. As the rest of the country and world prepares themselves for turkey, stuffing and dessert as well as Christmas cookies the triathlete holiday is going be filled with running and cycling as they prepare for the next year's races.  That is not to say that we will not be dabbling in all the foods but it does mean that we will be keeping an eye on where we want to go, what we have learned and how we are going to get to our desired goals.
Published in Train
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